List of POTUS-led Actions during President Obama’s First Term

Please read this post first, which links to the following list:

-The 2012 decision to change habeas corpus rules for remaining GiTMO prisoners. This meant that they no longer had access to the evidence against them, access to their lawyers, and to force detainees to resort to military tribunals. Tribunals are not bound by the U.S. Constitution, which is one of their biggest flaws. How can the US maintain integrity when scolding other countries about human rights violations, when it refuses to abide that framework for its own practices?

-An official commitment to continue the policy of renditions, that is, kidnapping and detaining foreign nationals for months, occasionally flying them to the U.S. to be “officially charged.”

– Led by US Attorney General Eric Holder, The Department of Justice’s continued harassment of foreign nationals, by pursuing them aggressively on the basis of little evidence. See the examples of Tarek Mehanna, Rezwan Ferdaus, and Fahad Hashmi, to name a few. In each of these cases, US Attorneys of color (Carmen Ortiz and Preet Bharara) pursued excessive charges against them, allowed them to remain in solitary confinement for years at a time before allowing them to have trials. And then they were charged with “conspiracy” to commit terrorist acts. Conspiracy charges require an extremely low threshold of evidence for convictions.

-The DoJ’s refusal to release 86 prisoners, including now dead Yemeni national and accidental bystander Adnan Latif, from GiTMO. The DoJ refused to released Adnan Latif despite being cleared THREE times by the Department of Defense, and a Court’s mandate as long ago as 2009. Latif was found dead in his cell. The US Army calls it a suicide. Truthout’s Jason Leopold has damning evidence to the contrary.

-The DoJ’s refusal to remand Canadian citizen Omar Khadr (detained as a child in 2002 and imprisoned at GiTMO Omar Khadr (detained as a child) back to Canada until September 2012.

-The secret, private kill list of those who are deemed to be a danger to the US and its citizens, which correspondingly grows longer and longer with each new extrajudicial execution undertaken by the Obama Administration.

-Over 300 drone strikes on countries that have never been declared to be targets of war or enemies of the United States.

-Nearly 200 children killed by US-directed remote drones. They are of course “unintentional” tragedies. Unless they are 16 and above and therefore defined as militants (in which case the number of children, by American civilian standards, will increase drastically.

-Nearly 2000 civilian deaths by drones. That means grandparents, parents, shopkeepers, lawyers, schoolteachers, brothers, sisters, nieces, cousins.

-The disposition matrix, which appears to make the War on Terror endless.

-The Department of Justice’s decision to prosecute whistleblowers who challenged wrongdoing. I am referring, most recently, to ex-CIA official John Kiriakou, who will serve more time in prison for confirming the name of a CIA torturer to a NYT journalist Scott Shane– than that torturer will. Of course, we can point to ex-NSA’s official Thomas Drake’s persecution by the DoJ, along with that of Pfc Bradley Manning, and the general harassment of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, who remains holed up in the London digs of the Ecuadorian embassy after receiving political asylum on the same grounds.

-Obama’s urging of the Yemeni President Saleh to reverse his decision to pardon Yemeni journalist Abudelelah Hider Shaye, who had just completed 2 of a 5 year prison sentence. Obama professed to be concerned about “his association with Al-Qaeda.” The Yemeni President quickly accommodated Obama’s request, even though as Jeremy Scahill reports, Shaye was arrested for revealing that the December 2009 Cruise missile strike that hit 41 Yemenis (21 were children) at a wedding party was directed by the U.S., and not an accident perpetuated by the Yemeni government, which took credit for that strike.

-Congress hardly prevented Obama from ending human rights violations at GiTMO, like those reported by former detainees David Hicks, Sami Al-Hajj, and Moazzem Begg.

-Congress hardly induced Obama to threaten not to sign NDAA 2012 if the Senate didn’t include a provision about giving the President unchecked authority to arrest and detain US citizens or foreign nationals anywhere in the world.

-Somehow, Obama forgot to send out a press release refusing to sign NDAA 2012 & 2013 if Congress “prevented” him from closing Guantanamo. I’m sure it was just an oversight.

-Between 2009-2012, under President Obama’s watch, the Department of Homeland Security has deported 1.5 million men and women in 4 years. Among them are 250,000 parents of U.S. citizen children who were separated from their parents as result of these deportations.


Author: Falguni A. Sheth

I'm a philosopher and political analyst who writes about all kinds of things, from national security, US politics, race, terrorism, miscegenation, feminism, philosophy, and whatever else captivates my attention. My views are idiosyncratic. I'd like to believe they're carefully considered, and I'm not particularly interested in following crowds.